Episode 73 - Bill Clegg: Part 5


Bill Clegg ends his marathon appearance on This Writing Life podcast by talking about his (then) recent Man Booker longlisting for his first novel, Did You Ever Have a Family? Alternating between his twin literary hats - writer and agent - he talks the pros of literary prizes and literary culture in general. After the shock of learning that I reviewed Did You Ever Have a Family?, Clegg moved onto a broader discussion of attractive misery in contemporary American fiction:

  • who's sadder: Clegg or Hanya Yanagihara (or neither)?
  • the problem with novels with the word 'Girl' in the title
  • the Ashley Madison debacle
  • Adrian Piper's 'Everything' (Will be Taken Away)
  • Bam!, Black Swans and age-old advice: how to deal with the unexpected
  • self-consciousness about self-consciousness: Foster Wallace, WS Merwin, perhaps?
  • the future and some literary recommendations